Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja latest statements on the strike by secondary school arts teachers and primary school teachers points to determination by President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s government to make the teachers cry.
According to Nabbanja, secondary school teachers and primary school teachers under the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) began their strike when it was too late. Unatu announced their countrywide industrial action on June 15, a day after Finance Minister Matia Kasaija read the national budget for the 2022-23 Financial Year.
In his budget reading, Kasaija announced that science teachers and other scientists would get huge salary increments starting July 2022, something which made arts teachers go on strike protesting salary enhancement disparities.
Nabbanja also claimed that Unatu leaders had refused to meet her, insisting that they wanted to meet President Museveni.
“The teachers union started the strike when we had concluded the budget. When it started, I called these people but none of them wanted to meet us, they only wanted to meet the president,” said Nabbanja on June 27, the day when the strike entered its 13th day.
Reiterating government’s position on salary increment, Nabbanja insisted that Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) will start removing striking teachers from the payroll on Thursday and that new teachers will be recruited starting June 30.
“As a government, we are concerned with what is happening. We are committed to increasing the salaries of all civil servants, but we agreed as a cabinet to start with scientists because they drive the country in times of need,” noted Nabbanja.
“It is their right to withdraw their service but we shall not close the schools forever. We have deployed as a country, all the teachers who are not in classes by 30th June, the CAOs should delete them and we recruit new teachers.”
Meanwhile, the amount of money that President Museveni wants each arts teacher to be paid every month — as and when resources become available — has been revealed. (Read Story Here).
MORE ON ARTS TEACHERS’ STRIKE
In his budget speech read on June 14, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija announced that the salaries of science teachers, scientists and health workers will be increased in a ‘very big’ way starting July 2022. (Read Story Here).
Hours after Minister Kasaija read the budget for the 2022-23 Financial Year indicating a salary increment for teachers of science, arts teachers began their strike, making it clear that all teachers matter. (Read Story Here).
Government held talks with secondary school arts teachers and primary school teachers’ leaders under Unatu. After failing to convince the striking teachers to call off their industrial action, Museveni’s government through Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, resorted to threatening teachers to either return to class or be fired.
But secondary school arts and primary level teachers under Unatu have fired back at President Museveni’s government, making it clear that threats of being fired will not force them to end their strike. (Read Story Here).
A group of MPs have also openly supported the arts teachers’ strike and told Museveni’s government to present a supplementary budget to Parliament with the aim of increasing salaries. (Read Story Here).
Relatedly, more government employees’ unions have threatened to lay down their tools in solidarity with striking teachers if government fires them, meaning that there could some sort of national shutdown. (Read Story Here).
MORE ON SCIENCE TEACHERS’ SALARY INCREMENT
MORE ON SALARY INCREMENT CIRCUS
In order to improve service delivery and end the challenge of strikes over low pay, President Museveni’s government has proposed huge salary increments for teachers, doctors and other employees starting July 2022. (Read Story Here)
The proposed increments have left many people wondering if government will really fulfill this pledge and increase salaries by very high amounts.
For example, opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye has argued that the promise of salary increment is just ‘another lie.’ (Read Story Here).
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija recently said the money for increasing teachers’, doctors’ and other civil servants’ salaries was available. (Read Story Here).
In August 2021, cabinet approved salary increment for teachers, doctors and other health workers. (Read Story Here).
See the salary structure that had been proposed for the current financial year here.
Meanwhile, an NRM MP has angered teachers after telling them they are too poor to go on strike. (Read Story Here).